In return for purchasing the Rafale from France, has the State of Qatar obtained additional traffic rights for its national carrier ? The present 2010 bilateral agreement between the two countries enables Qatar Airways to carry out 21 weekly flights from Doha, to either Paris or Nice. The Qatari company has opted for the capital, but would like to be allocated new frequencies to serve more french provincial towns directly, and, in addition, according to one french daily newspaper, (Les Echos), with "several flights a week" to the airports of Lyon and Nice.
This information was immediately denied by the President of the French Republic during his visit to Doha, Qatar, concerning the Rafale contract. François Hollande only confirms that negotiations regarding the subject are underway.
François Hollande, President of the French Republic
« No bargaining has been carried out. Discussions have taken place over several months, not only with Qatar but with other countries, with a view to enhancing what our airports can offer, and in that regard, I am thinking particularly of Nice and Lyon airports, but that has no connection with what we are doing here. It is quite legitimate that there be discussions and negotiations with a number of airlines favouring countries which could also bring in a large number of tourists. »
On being contacted, the airports of Nice and Lyon made no comment as to the possible opening of additional airlines at their platforms. Nor so, from Air France who, in full economic recovery, could easily do without competition at these two provincial airports with the Qatari national company. The French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), who is responsible for the allocation of new traffic frequencies has not been informed of the present governmental negotiations.